Q&A and Giveaway with Madison Parker: Author of Play Me, I’m Yours
Welcome to the Boys on the Brink Blog, Madison. Has it always been a dream of yours to be a writer?
Yes, when I was a kid I told everyone I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. One of my favorites childhood gifts was a typewriter (yikes! I’m dating myself). My best friend and I would write stories for each other to read. Mine were usually inspired by boys I was crushing on. We’d write about people we knew but put them in unfamiliar settings or situations—sort of like fan fiction, but for real people.
And what drew you to the genre of gay young adult fiction in particular?
Oh, nice segue…fan fiction! I’m a big fan of Glee and began reading Klaine fan fiction during the show’s numerous hiatuses. I just couldn’t get enough of my boys. Fan fiction is crazy fun. I enjoyed a good Tentacle!Kurt or Wizard!Blaine every now and then, but I found myself mostly drawn to the contemporary stories. Over time, I grew weary of the poor editing and decided to try reading published novels. The first one I read was Something Like Summer by Jay Bell. It was such an emotionally moving story, and I was so touched by the characters’ struggles with coming to terms with who they were as they approached adulthood, I immediately sought out other books like it. So I guess the answer is that I was drawn in by some wonderful, emotional, imaginative stories.
Who would you say are some of your favorite authors of LGBT YA novels at the moment?
My favorites include Jay Bell, John Goode, Jeff Erno, and Sara Alva. There are so many other great YA authors out there; it seems unfair to name only a few. I am an avid reader, and make an effort to write reviews for my favorite books, so you can find out more about the books I love on my Goodreads young adult shelf. And of course, I have a to-be-read shelf a mile long! Reading is my favorite pastime.
Can you remember how the idea for Play Me, I’m Yours first came to you?
It was actually Alex, one of the secondary characters, who inspired the story. I wanted to challenge the belief that if a straight guy were to show compassion and affection for a gay guy, he’d most likely turn out to be gay himself. My son lived with his gay friend for a short time, and people often thought he was gay-by-association. I’ve encountered that myself by sticking up for the gay community. People sometimes assume that I am gay—otherwise, why would I care, right? So Alex is a very special character to me. The “Seven Minutes in Heaven” scene was the first one to formulate in my head.
The thing I loved most about this novel was the characters. I adored every one of them, even the bitchy Donavon. If I had to pick a favorite though, it would probably be Alex. Which did you enjoy writing the most?
Oh, how I love these characters! Donovan was certainly fun to write, because he’s snarky and has a dirty sense of humor. I live with a man who constantly makes “That’s what she said” jokes, so Donovan’s quips came to me rather easily. I also really enjoyed writing scenes with Lucas’s younger brother, Mason. He’s such a snot!
One of the main themes of this book is bullying, and the cruelty Lucas is forced to endure on a daily basis. What would you say to all the young people out there who are right now going through something similar?
I say to them, Hang in there! If they feel unloved, it doesn’t mean they’re not lovable. It doesn’t mean no one cares. They just haven’t connected with the people out there who do. And there are lots of people who do care. I urge them to reach out for help, even if it’s just for someone to talk to. It’s difficult, when you’re young, to see beyond your everyday life, but things change so much after high school. I would also remind them reaching out doesn’t just mean asking for help; it can also mean helping others who are in similar situations.
What’s up next for your writing? Any new novels in the works?
I’m currently writing a story for the annual Goodreads event, Don’t Read in the Closet. This year’s event is called Love Has No Boundaries. I’ll be putting a new spin on the nerd/jock trope that many people so dearly love. You can read more about the story HERE.
I’ve also started outlining my second novel, which will be a contemporary romance (in a medieval setting). It’s too soon to share details, but it will involve an effeminate main character who, unlike Lucas, has a lot of self-confidence. He also has a very special and unusual talent.
Thanks so much for giving me this interview, Madison. Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
Play Me, I’m Yours by Madison Parker Published by Harmony Ink Press
Fairy Tate. Twinklefingers. Lucy Liu. Will the taunting ever end? Lucas Tate suffers ridicule because of his appearance and sensitive nature. When he’s not teased, he’s ignored, and he doesn’t know which is worse. His one comfort in life is his music; he feels unloved by everyone. What he wants more than anything is to find a friend.
Much to his dismay, both his mom and a schoolmate are determined to find him a boyfriend, despite the fact Lucas hasn’t come out to them. His mom chooses a football player who redefines the term “heartthrob,” while Trish pushes him toward the only openly gay boy at Providence High. But Lucas is harboring a crush on another boy, one who writes such romantic poetry to his girlfriend that hearing it melts Lucas into a puddle of goo. All three prospects seem so far out of his league. Lucas is sure he doesn’t stand a chance with any of them—until sharing his gift for music brings him the courage to let people into his heart.
Visit Madison Parker’s Website at www.madisonparklove.com for bonus materials including character sketches, piano covers, music videos, and lyrics for songs referenced in the novel.
To celebrate the release of Play Me, I’m Yours, Madison Parker is hosting a giveaway. Enter to win your choice of a free copy of Play Me, I’m Yours or a $10 gift certificate from Rainbow eBooks by leaving a comment below along with your email address. For multiple chances to win, comment at each stop along the tour. Click here for the complete tour schedule. Winners will be chosen randomly on April 23.